COVID-19 question of the day: “What can I do to strengthen my lungs?”

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — When you have a question about COVID-19, leave a message on the WKRG News 5 coronavirus hotline at 251-662-3055. We’re answering a question each weeknight on News 5 at 10.

This is the question for May 27:
“Yes, thank you. What can I do to strengthen my lungs?”

COVID attacks the respiratory system, so it’s important to try to improve your respiratory health in case you contract the virus. Dr. Adrian DiVittorio, a pulmonologist with Infirmary Health Diagnostic and Medical Clinic, says he has a lot of patients with chronic lung disease, COPD, and asthma who ask him this same question.

He says there is really no way to strengthen the lung tissue because the lungs themselves don’t have skeletal muscle, but you can strengthen your overall cardiovascular aerobic system.

“Some of the most important exercises to improve pulmonary capacity, breathing capacity, is 30 minutes of mild to moderate aerobic exercise which means walking at a brisk enough pace that you’re just about to lose your breath but just underneath,” said Dr. DiVittorio.

And what you may not realize is that your legs play a large part in that.

“One of the most important muscles that helps people feel less breathless when exerting themselves is strengthening their legs, their quadriceps. So they’re one of the biggest muscle groups in the body that utilize some of the most oxygen and blood in the body so the stronger and more conditioned your quadriceps are the more effective they become, therefore the less breathlessness people experience,” Dr. DiVittorio said.

So make sure you’re getting in that 30-minutes of exercise a day, and be sure to work those quads!

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